Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Lots of keto foods: Recipes and pictures! PART 2

To continue my recipes, next up will be the Rahmgeschnetzeltes...

Rahmgeschnetzeltes (creamy pork strips)
serves 2-3
300 grams pork fillet, sliced in strips
paprika powder
1 TB of expeller pressed coconut oil
2 TB butter
1 small onion chopped finely
300 grams mushrooms, chopped (I tend to use ones that are in season, this time I used the brown champignons)
1 clove of garlic, pressed
some fresh thyme, finely chopped (maybe half a teaspoon)
1/2 cup of beef stock (I used homemade)
200 gram pot creme fraiche
freshly chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish

Season the pork strips with the salt, pepper and paprika.
In a heavy skillet melt one TB of the butter and sautee the chopped onion until golden. Right before the end, add the pressed garlic and the mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the thyme and stir. Remove the onions/garlic/mushrooms with the fat from the pan. Now melt the coconut oil and the rest of the butter in the pan and let brown lightly, and then add the seasoned pork strips. Fry until lightly browned and cooked through. Now add the onion/ mushroom mixture back to the pan, and add the beef stock and deglaze. Leave to simmer so the liquid is reduced and the meat becomes tender. Add the creme fraiche, taste to see if it needs more salt, garnish with the fresh parsley and serve. If the sauce is not as thick as you would like, thicken it with a little guar gum. I served this with cauliflower mash and half an avocado, but it is just as delicious with zucchini noodles, shirataki noodles or a nice green salad.

Next up: Stamppot!

Stamppot (a Dutch mashed winter dish!)
serves 4
2TB butter
2TB expeller pressed coconut oil
1 medium cauliflower (cooked, and mashed with 3 oz of cream cheese and seasoned with salt and pepper)
1/2 savoy cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, pressed
4 oz mature gouda cheese, cubed
4 oz of crispy crumbled bacon. Save the fat!
4 medium sized pork chops
salt and pepper to season
1/4 cup beef stock
small splash of dry white wine
3 oz double cream

Cook and mash the cauliflower and set aside. In one skillett, add a TB of butter and a TB of coconut oil and  fry the seasoned pork chops until cooked. Remove the chops to a plate and deglaze the pan with the splash of white wine and then the beef stock. Reduce a little, add the cream and let cook a little until a bit thickened. Put the pork chops back in the pan with the juices on the plate and put in the sauce so they stay warm. In a skillett, fry the bacon in 1 TB of coconut oil until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and now fry the chopped savoy cabbage until cooked and nicely browned in places. Add the onion to the mix and cook on medium a further couple of minutes until glazed. Add the garlic and sautee for another minute or so. Now it's time to put it all together: in the cauliflower mash (heat up if too cold) add the savoy cabbage/onion/garlic mixture stir well. Now add the bacon and the cheese cubes. To serve: add a pork chop with some sauce to a plate, and make a little sauce 'valley' in the mash too... This is very hearty and warming. The cabbage mixture freezes well, if you leave out the cheese.

And finally for this round of keto recipes: Dutch beef stew in the crock pot

 Dutch slow cooked beef stew or 'sudderlapjes'
serves 6
2 TB expeller pressed coconut oil
2 pounds of braising beef, in large pieces (I had 3 pieces)
seasoning (I used salt, pepper, paprika)
1 TB of tomato paste
1 large onion cut into 6 or 8 pieces
2 carrots, chopped in large pieces (they come out before eating, too carby)
a piece of celery root, chopped in pieces (I had about 8 1 inch pieces)
1/4 leek, chopped in pieces
3 cloves of garlic, chopped into 4 pieces each
2 medium tomatoes quartered
3 bay leaves
sprig of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
parsley, freshly chopped
1 cup of creme fraiche
1 TB of cold butter
guar gum for thickening if necessary

In a 6 quart crock pot, add all the vegetables.
Season the beef on both sides.
In a heavy bottomed pan/pot melt the coconut oil and brown the seasoned beef on both sides. Now transfer the meat to the crock pot, and lay on top of the vegetables. Deglaze the pan with the water and add in the tomato paste. Pour this into the crock pot and add the wine and the beef broth. Add the thyme and rosemary and cook on low for 6 hours. After about three hours, stir things around a bit if you like. After six hours, check if the meat is falling apart. This means it's cooked. Now remove the carrott pieces and the bay leaves. Add the creme fraiche and set to high until the stew starts bubbling again. Now add the cold butter and if you need more thickening the guar gum. Finally add the creme fraiche and chopped parsley and serve. This is delicious as a thick soup, or over shirataki noodles or rice as well as cauliflower mash. Really good. This freezes well too, so great for making in advance.

Lots of keto foods: recipes and pictures! PART 1

I've been paying attention to my macros lately and adapting lots of Low Carb and High Carb favourites to suit my keto macro needs.

I also bought a CrockPot and have been using it for slow cooking and of course for making bone broth! I'm going to be daring and even make some fish stock soon! I ordered some fish bones and heads, etc from the fresh fish counter at my local supermarket and picking them up this weekend, so I'll get back to you on that one!

First off, my favourite breakfast: Keto Porridge, Dutch style...

Keto Porridge, Dutch style
serves 2
1TB ground flax seeds
2TB ground almonds
2TB ground hazelnuts
2TB chia seeds
4TB dried coconut, I use finely chopped, it looks a little like sawdust!
2 scoops protein powder (I use Source Naturals vanilla whey protein powder)
1TB gelatin powder (I use Great Lakes Beef Gelatin)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground vanilla bean
sweetener to taste (I use stevia powder)
pinch of celtic or himalayan salt
1/2 cup double cream (I use organic cream)
1 1/2 cups cold water
2 TB butter (I use Kerrygold)

In a small pan mix all the dry ingredients. Add the cream and the water, whisk until everything is mixed and let stand for 5 or so minutes. The mixture will thicken. Now slowly heat the mixture until it starts bubbling. Keep stirring and turn the heat to low for another minute or two. As you are heating the mixture it will get less solid, but don't worry, if you serve it will thicken up properly again. If you find the mixture too thick, just add a little more water.

To serve, divide the mixture into two bowls, add more sweetener if you feel you need it and top the porridge with a TB of butter. EAT!
I prepare the dry mixture beforehand and divide it per portion in a plastic bag. Then, when I want to eat my breakfast I have everything ready and I can cook it in 7 minutes. Perfect.

Next up: Oopsies, my style; I used Cleochatra's recipe (My Lighter Life) as my starting point and added a few bits so they held up better and had a bit more flavour. These are savoury keto replacement bread buns.

Oopsies, my style
makes approx 14-16 buns
6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (Weinsteinbackpulver)
200gm package plain cream cheese (I use Buko, der Sahnige)
2 TB bleached almond flour
2 TB flaxmeal
4 TB ground parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
ground black pepper
paprika powder, unsmoked

Preheat oven to upper lower heat setting and to 160 degrees celsius.

Separate the eggs and add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Also add a pinch of salt. In another bowl mix the yolks with the cream cheese, the almond flour, the flax meal, the parmesan cheese, a little salt, pepper and paprika. I use a handheld mixer and make sure everything is well blended.
Then whip the egg whites until very stiff and slowly fold into the yolk mixture. Once mixed (it's ok if not perfectly mixed) get two baking sheets and line them with parchment paper. On each sheet drop about 6-8 mounds of the mixture, making them a little flatter and a bit round. I don't really worry about the shape. Then put the sheets above one another in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Then switch the sheets round so all the buns get cooked evenly and let cook for another 15 minutes. Then turn off oven and leave with the door open for about 5 minutes. Take the buns, they will be pretty flat by now, out of the oven and leave them to cool on a rack.

To store, use a container and layer the buns between paper and keep the lid loosly on top. These keep up to a week or so in the fridge and they can be frozen too. When you thaw them, make sure some air can get to them, otherwise they become wet and sticky. The buns can be toasted as well.

Next recipe: creamy spinach and ground beef. It's really a beef florentine style dish, made simple for a quick meal.

Creamy spinach and ground beef

serves 2
2 TB expeller pressed coconut oil
250 grams of ground beef
paprika powder
dried majoram
dried basil
1 1/2 cups frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
4 oz cream cheese

In a heavy bottomed pan melt the coconut oil and fry the beef. Halfway through the beef being cooked, add the herbs and the spices. Make sure the beef is broken up properly. Once cooked, add the spinach and heat through. Finally add the cream cheese. Serve on top of shirataki rice or noodles and top with some freshly ground parmesan cheese. This meal takes about 15 minutes to cook, so perfect when you have little time and still want a nutritious dinner.

Part 2 coming up after the break... xxx C.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

It's been a while: back to blogging!

I've been MIA for a while, sorry!

After a nice holiday in September 2014 by the seaside in Domburg, I had to work very hard and had a lot to do before going off to Bogota in Colombia for a work conference.
Of course when I came back I was in a rush to finish any and all work before I had my bunionoplasty on my left foot. And here we are in 2015!

I will be posting lots once I get my pictures in order but you can expect the following posts from me in a short timespan:

- enjoying the beach
- making bone broth and soup
- Bogota
- bunionoplasty and good nourishment for operation recovery
- hair care
- feeding our garden inhabitants
- fitness
- keto meals
- body care
- turmeric, my go-to miracle product/food/medicine

xxx, C

Monday, 1 September 2014

Weekend musings: raised garden beds and soup making

Well, the weekend was busy. We have built a raised garden bed and I made lots of chicken bone broth.

A picture of the finished raised bed:

I already sowed some radish seeds, and will sow some carrot seeds as well for a late harvest before winter. After that, we have to be patient and start properly next spring!

The weather was autumnal, and so in between the burst of sunshine we had thunderstorms and lots of wind and rain. Perfect weather for nice warm soup!

I always save chicken carcasses and I freeze them until I have enough for two large pots of broth.

Here's a simple and delicious recipe for chicken bone broth that I think is failsafe:


Chicken carcass and bones, enough to fill 2/3 of a large soup pot.
good splash of organic apple cider vinegar, unfiltered
1 onion, outer dirt removed, quartered
1 large clove of garlic, cut in half
celery root, leaves and stalk, roughly chopped
whatever leftover raw vegetable cuttings you have: i use ends of carrots, some cauliflower
parsley, about a handful
a medium sized tomato, quartered
about 6 juniper berries, dried
about 6 pimento berries, dried
about 20 black peppercorns
2 cloves, dried
sea salt to taste

In the large soup pot add the carcasses and bones and cover with filtered cold water. Make sure the bones are under about an inch of water. Add the apple cider vinegar and cover, and leave for an hour. Don't turn on the heat yet.
After an hour or so, turn the heat under the pot on and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat until the liquid is just simmering. With a slotted spoon take off any scum and foam that floats on the surface. After about 4 hours of simmering, add all the other ingredients save for the salt. Leave to simmer for another 8 or so hours, or longer. I tend to switch mine off before I go to sleep and switch on again the next morning. I've found that simmering for up to 24 hours but with a minimum of 8 hours gives nice results. Once you deem the broth ready (just taste it), sieve out all the debris (bones, vegetables, spices) and add the salt to taste. Once the salt is incorporated, you can divide the broth in portions, leave to cool and store. The broth keeps for about 5 days in the fridge, and months in the freezer.

I use this as a base for many soups.

I'm making a courgette or broccoli dinner-soup on Tuesday, so I'll post a recipe and some pictures of the result. 

xxx C.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Natural skincare: my routine and favourite products

Another week has gone by without posting, time flies when you're busy!

We've been building a raised garden bed so we can enjoy lots of home grown veggies next year. Once it's finished I'll dedicate a post to the whole building, filling and planting of raised beds.

Here's a picture of the frame so far:

Now for my facial skincare routine...

Since changing to all natural cosmetics, I've been trying out lots of products. I still change between products, depending on what my skincare needs are at the time.

First of all, I have dry, sensitive skin with a lightly oily t-zone and very rarely do I get spots.
For cleansing I generally cleanse in the evening and use the oil cleansing method: with an oil of your choice gently 'wash' your face and then using a soft towel that is wet with warm water give yourself a 'steam' bath. You lay the towel over your face, wait a little while and softly rub your face once and rinse and repeat untill the dirt is on the towel and not your face. Then a final rinse with cold water and you're squeaky clean and your skin is cared for. It's a really deep clean without harsh rubbing or using harsh soaps. Works a like a dream on my skin.

When I have an eczema outbreak on my skin, I use coconut oil for oil cleansing and moisturising.

When I have clear skin, I use my own blended oil cleanser: 1/4 castor oil, 1/4 apricot kernel oil and 1/2 olive oil. This is when my skin behaves normally. For travelling I got a trial sized bottle of jojoba oil from Primavera, and as this bottle closes better than the plastic one with my own blend, it's saver putting into my beauty bag. Sometimes, when the mood strikes I use Martina Gebhart Shea Butter cleanser, it's a lovely lotion cleanser, and I rub this all over my face and remove with a soft towel and afterwards I rinse my face with water. 

After hard work and lots of sweating and grime (working in the garden does this), I sometimes use Dr Bronner's Magic Soap in Neutral-Mild (unfragranced) diluted 10 times in water as a face wash. I do moisturise extra after, as even diluted this much it tends to dry out my skin a little.

I bought lots of the turquoise face towels: I can use a new one every day and only have to wash them once every two weeks. I wash them at 60 degrees with a Sodasan detergent that is unfragranced. 

After cleansing, whether it's morning or night, I like using a toner of some kind on my face. Depending on my mood and skin appearance, I change between rose water, orange flower water and witch hazel water. I bought empty pump diffuser bottles, so I have I just finished my bottle of YUULI Metamorphic Elixir, which is really expensive but so, so nice. I'm definitely getting this again. In fact, I just got paid, so I'm placing an order with Amazingy right after posting here! The facial mist is amazing: it is moisturising, so perfect for an oil free night care regime and for people with oily skin for during the day. I find it really calms the skin, gives a wonderful glow and really improves the general appearance of the skin over time.

After toning, I then layer my care products. Every morning and night, I use Dr Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel, which is lovely and gentle, and clears up any eczema flare ups I have. (Especially when I moisturise with coconut oil after, it's a magical combination for my skin.) This is all the skin care I do in the evening, I don't use any oily products over night, which seems to have improved the general feel and look of my skin.
In the morning, I do what takes my fancy: I either use Dr. Alkaitis Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil, Pai Rosehip Oil (DO NOT USE IN THE SUN) and depending on the sunshine add a suncare product over the oil once it's gone into the skin. Especially with the Pai Rosehip oil I tend to use the SPF 30 if I know I'm going to be outside for longer than walking from my car to the office. Otherwise I use SPF 15. 

For lip care, I love the Weleda Everon lip care stick. I love the smell, the consistency and the care it gives! I don't need lip care every day. Normally once we get to the colder months I tend to use it.

So that's my skincare routine. I'm not super consistent, but tend to cleanse my face in the evening and only splash with water in the morning. One consistent thing is always the Dr Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel, I love this a lot. And once I have the YUULI Metamorphic Elixir again, I guess I'll use that regularly too. Everything else really depends on my mood and the condition of my skin.

In the spring BioBox delivery I got this Arnica Gel Cool Lavender from Go&Home. I was initially a little annoyed and couldn't imagine using it at all, but that all changed in the last month: We got mosquitoes! And this gel is wonderful at keeping mosquitoes at bay and for reducing swelling and itchyness from mosquito bites! It now lives on my nightstand, so I have it at hand before I go to sleep. I rub a little onto my arms and legs and since then I've not had a bite. And mosquitoes love me.... 

Next post I'll report about some hair care findings, and I'll post a homemade courgette soup recipe...

xxx, C.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Recipe: Spicy chorizo and zucchini tomato sauce

We've been harvesting zucchinis and tomatoes like crazy lately. All that nice warm weather with plenty of sunshine and a bit of rain does the vegetables good!

Combine the harvest with the souvenirs we brought back from Barcelona and you have a great dinner!

Yesterday I made a nice pasta/rice/whatever sauce with what we had in the fridge and the garden, and we both really enjoyed it. So here's the recipe:

Spicy Chorizo and Zucchini Tomato keto sauce

serves 4 fairly hungry people

1 tablespoon coconut oil, butter or any kind of frying fat you prefer
1 medium sized onion, chopped fine
4 medium sized, very ripe tomatoes, or 2 large very ripe tomatoes, cut into small cubes
2 medium sized zucchinis, cut into cubes
2/3 spicy chorizo sausage, cut into small cubes (take skin off first!)
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup plain cream cheese
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 sprig rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
1 handful celery leaves, chopped fine
1/2 handful chopped lovage leaves
1/2 handful basil ripped fine (chopping reduces the flavour, so rip them; they will have more flavour)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot or pan heat the fat of your choice and add the onions. Reduce to medium heat and fry until glazed. Then add the chorizo cubes and fry on high for a few minutes. Keep stirring, burnt chorizo is not nice! Add the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Once the chorizo is evenly fried on all sides, get the zucchini and add to the pot. Stir well and fry on high for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir and cook for a minute or so. Add the chopped tomatoes. Reduce heat and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes. At this time cook the rice, pasta or whatever you want to eat your chorizo dish with. Add the pressed garlic to your chorizo veggie pot and the cream cheese and stir well until properly mixed. Simmer for another 3 minutes. Remove the hard stalks of the rosemary and thyme and fish out the bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. (You will hardly need anything, it's quite strong tasting already!) When you are ready to serve, add the creme fraiche and fresh herbs and stir in quickly. Now you are ready for spicy deliciousness!

Serve over pasta, rice, fried potatoes, or like I did with shirataki noodles and enjoy! For extra indulgence you could add a little grated manchego cheese or parmesan....

I love the bright vibrant colours of the dish, it tastes the way it looks: happy and fun!

xxx C.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Sunscreens: what works in natural cosmetics?

So sorry for the late, late post! I've been playing catch up at work and at home we started a new project: building a raised bed for our veggies next year. Very exciting, but it's more work than we initially anticipated.
I'll definitely dedicate a post to the whole build and all the work around it once we are ready!

Anyway, today is all about sun care. I tried a few sunscreens in the natural cosmetics sector and found a brand that I so far like a lot. And when you find something that you like and it works, well you stick with it!

So without further delay I present to you Eco Cosmetics!  

The Eco Cosmetics sunscreens are really good and in the picture above you can see which products I currently have in use. The ingredients are limited, no thousand incomprehensible components, no parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, silicons, synthetic sunscreens, or nanoparticles. The main sunscreen they use in their products are titanium dioxide and for some products karanja oil. For the rest nice and caring oils and plant extracts and waxes. They don't cover you in a white sheen like some mineral sun screens and they are pretty economical in their use, so although the aren't the cheapest products around, they last quite a while.

I use sunscreen on my face every day, especially since I've had some moles removed and a pre-cancerous spot on my nose treated. So I usually use the green Eco Cosmetics face cream that contains SPF 15. This is a tinted lotion, goes on lightly and does not take too long to sink into the skin. The colour is suitable for everyone, as it really blends in well and does not add or take away much from the natural skin tone. It is a light enough product to wear under make up or on its own. A little goes a long way and so far I've not had any issues at all when using this product on my face.

If I know I'm going to be out in the sun I use the Eco Cosmetics SPF 30 face gel, on the left of the face cream. It's thicker and feels and looks like a yellow/gold oil. It goes on quite easily, but here a little goes a long way too and it takes longer to really settle on the skin without looking like an oil slick. I use less than one pump and that is enough for my whole face and neck. It protects really well and does not have an unpleasant fragrance, reminiscent somewhat of unripe peaches.

At the beginning of summer I used the tinted SPF 30 cream. Especially my legs look whiter than white so this is a bit of help when you want to wear shorts but not scare the little children in your neighbourhood! It is quite thick, but spreads nicely and gives a very light hint of colour. Watch out for stains when wearing lighter clothing as it is mineral based it will rub off! This cream works really well and I like its protection. No sunburn, and at the end of the day still a hint of colour even though I don't sit out in the sun on purpose.

For ease of use I bought the Sun Oil SPF 30, which has similar ingredients as the SPF 30 face gel, just a little more liquid. I really like this one, but if you are going to be bothered by the shine from the oil, I would sooner use the cream... This does not make you look white, purely because it's an oil and does not contain zinc oxide.

And finally on the far left, my SPF 50 lotion, which I use for days that I know I can't avoid being in the sun. I have to say it goes on quite easily and does not leave behind a too noticeable white film when you spread it well. Works a treat and so far I've found here that it is the nicest consistency and has served me very well on those extra sunny days when gardening work has to be done or when I was in Barcelona and could not avoid the midday sun.

Last but not least the lip balm SPF 30: It is useful and works well but I don't love the consistency. It's quite waxy and thick. But I only use it if I know I'm going to be in the sun. Otherwise I use my trusted Weleda Everon balm.

For after sun if I really need it I have a huge aloe vera plant at home. I just cut off a leaf, scrape out the gel and apply. Works a treat for almost any skin problem! Alternatively I really like the Soothing Gel Serum from Dr Alkaitis, it is a miracle in a bottle! I often use it straight after cleansing my face in the morning or in the evening. It is for the whole body, so not just used as a face care balm.

I have some Melvita Prosun to try out: still haven't gotten round to it, as I've not had or made the time! I bought some bodypeeling from Melvita too, and thought as a preparation for the selftanner I could scrub with the body scrub and then moisturise with the fragrance free Body Oil from Balm Balm and then the next day apply the Prosun... So far, no go!

For a nice glow I've been using the Melvita L'Or Bio, which I love! It gives a really nice natural shimmer and really smells like summer! Very nice and coconutty! Definitely worth investing in, as it lasts forever because a little goes a really long way. Also suitable for face and hair. It's a dry oil, so you don't look like an oil slick after applying. Not suitable to use as a sun screen of course, as it does not have SPF!

Here a quick picture of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona... Already a lot further in the build than last time when we visited Barcelona three years ago.

We really had a lovely time and of course came home with lots of delicious foods from the local market... The other day we had a dinner consisting of tapas, really nice and a little bit of Spain in our own back garden!

Next time I'll write up a little about my delicious chorizo garden vegetable pasta/rice/anything sauce and I plan to discuss my face care routine as well!

xxx C.